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Last Day in Jerusalem

This day did not start well. Marty's pocket was picked, and he lost his iPhone. He had his hand on his wallet, as it was obvious that the man was trying to distract him to get at it. But somehow, the man got his hand past Marty's hand, removing the phone from the adjoining wallet without Marty noticing it. He realized it, just as we were entering the church for the Sunday service.

As our travel insurance does not cover electronics, and the hearing aid carries a $250 deductible, this is turning out to be an expensive trip. But this kind of thing could really happen anywhere, and it was the last problem of the day.

After church, we went into the Old City, stopping along the Via Dolorosa for lunch. I had a falafel plate with yummy salads on it, and French fries, most of which I did not eat, and the minted lemonade I have come to love. Marty had hummus with ground meat and the same side treats.

Then we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where we got in line to go into the sepulcher enclosure itself. This is a huge wooden structure that takes up the bulk of the section of the church under its massive main dome. Most of the rest of the area is occupied by the long line waiting to go in. I had never braved the line before, but as the holy sepulchre is the main reason for the church, we decided we should take this opportunity, which after all, would not come again. The line was not too bad, maybe 30 - 40 minutes. Like most of the sites in the church, this one is Greek Orthodox and is therefore quite ornate and adorned with multiple lamps. You duck your head and move into a small anteroom which itself has a few lamps, and then you go into a tiny, low room with a stone slab, ostensibly where Jesus was buried and from which He rose. I actually found the experience quite moving. For me it prompted reflection on the sacredness of death and hope and their challenges and interrelatedness. But that is all much more abstract than the experience of being in a tiny, dimly lit room in this ancient church.

Returning to the hotel, we stopped along the way to chat with friends and have some pomegranate / orange juice, our current refresher of choice. I was really enjoying the sense that in at least some parts of this labyrinthine Old City I actually could reliably navigate back to the Damascus Gate and our hotel! It is also very cool to bump into people we know in this exotic place.

At the hotel, the group met with Rami Elhanan and Bassam Aramin members of the Parents Circle. Rami's 14 year old daughter was killed in a 1997 suicide bombing. I have provided links to their names, as they basically told the same stories to us, amid some friendly joking between themselves. The truly heartrending part of the meeting involved their passing around a phone with pictures of the two little girls on it.

On the recommendation of Yuval, Marty and I went out to a restaurant called Mona in West Jerusalem. We wanted to experience some of contemporary West Jerusalem, and we were not disappointed. Mona is upscale and creative without being outrageous in terms of price or experiment. Marty had a salad with bleu cheese and pears, and I had marinated cherry tomatoes. He then had a beef filet with red cabbage and mashed potatoes, while I had tagliatelle with crab, shrimp, and calamari. (Yuval had said, "It's not kosher, so you can have a good choice of seafood.") For dessert, Marty ordered a wonderful creamy chocolate thing with crunchy chocolate tiles and little blobs of hazelnut stuff. I had my fair share of it. A lovely evening and totally different from sweaty sightseeing and intense consciousness raising.

Entry to Sepulchre Shrine

Entry to Sepulchre Shrine

Restaurant Mona

Restaurant Mona

Posted by mlld3536 17:00 Archived in Israel

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